Americas Military

From mach-20 glider to hummingbird drone

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects — a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet — that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED’s Chris Anderson)

Regina Dugan directs the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DoD innovation engine responsible for creating and preventing strategic surprise. Full bio »

Since we took to the sky, we have wanted to fly faster and farther. And to do so, we’ve had to believe in impossible things and we’ve had to refuse to fear failure.” (Regina Dugan)
With a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Caltech and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech, Dr. Dugan is a business woman, inventor, and technology developer who rolls up her sleeves and goes directly to a problem whether it’s in the lab or in Afghanistan.  She’s been called a “technogeek” with a knack for inspiring creative thinking, an artist-engineer.  Many credit Dugan as a scientific coach, mentor, cheerleader and taskmaster.  As a 2010 New York Times article explained, there are four stages to an encounter with Regina Dugan – “being a little scared, really scared, frustrated and then enlightened.”  Vision alone is insufficient for Dugan. Rather, vision must be paired with the power of execution in order to make impossible things possible.

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